Being prepared is best plan of defense

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2002

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management and the Local Emergency Planning Committee work hard to educate the public in preparing for the potential disasters on the peninsula, such as wildland fires and earthquakes. Now, after Sept. 11, we have to ask, are we as individuals and families ready for a terrorist attack?

The American Red Cross has prepared and recently released a free publication entitled, "Terror-ism: Preparing for the Unexpect-ed." The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Red Cross serve together on the National Disaster Education Coalition in Washington, D.C.

The Cooperative Extension Service is an agency within USDA and our contact has asked Extension staff to help "distribute this important information into every household in America."

This 16-page leaflet contains information on general preparedness, which is always encouraged.

General preparedness includes creating an emergency communication plan, planning a meeting place and assembling a disaster supplies kit. Most Alaskans are prepared to "shelter in place." However, in the event of an evacuation, an easy-to-carry kit is a must have.

The evacuation kit should include first-aid supplies, a change of clothing for each member of the family, a sleeping bag for each, food, water and special-needs items such as infant formula or medical supplies.

It also is important to include cash and copies of important documents in the kit. And, plan to take your pets with you.

In addition to information on general preparedness, this leaflet provides suggestions for positive steps to take related to a terrorism event.

One suggestion shared is, "We do not recommend that children watch television news reports about such events, especially if the news reports show images over and over again about the same incident. Young children do not realize that it is repeated video footage, and think the event is happening again and again."

Another recommendation is to learn basic first aid. This advance preparation will give you the skills to tend to your own needs, as well as the potential for assisting others.

Two of the pages in this leaflet are devoted to information about emergency first-aid action steps. These action steps are "check-call-care." Check the scene for safety and then check the victim. Call out for help when appropriate. Care for someone who is injured but the injuries are not life threatening. This care includes:

Control bleeding

Care for shock

Tend to burns

Care for injuries to joints, bones and muscles

Be aware of biological/radiological exposure

Reduce any care risks

The American Red Cross says, "all of these recommendations make good sense, regardless of the potential problem. Taking preparatory action can reassure you and your children you can exert a measure of control, even in the face of such events."

For a copy of this brochure, contact the Cooperative Extension Service at 262-5824 or stop by the office.

Linda Athons is an agent at the Alaska Cooperative Extension Office. She is a home economist and involved in the 4-H/Youth Development programs. The Kenai Peninsula District Extension Office is at 43961 Kalifornsky Beach Road, Suite A, Soldotna, AK. The phone number is 262-5824 or toll-free at (800) 478-5824.

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